Businesses have taken up Digital Transformation in different ways and at different pace. In Malaysia, company boardrooms are accepting Digital Transformation as a core strategic initiative, crucial to develop competitive advantage in their respective industries. Time and time again, we are reminded that Data is the lifeblood and Data fuels the Digital Transformation initiatives.
The rise of CDOs
In line with the rise of the Digital Transformation buzzword, I have seen several unique job titles coming up since a few years ago. Among those titles, “Chief Digital Officer“, “Chief Data Officer“, “Chief Experience Officer” are some eye-catching ones. I have met a few of them, and so far, those I met were outward facing, customer facing. In most of my conversations with them respectively, they projected a front that their organization, their business and operations have been digital transformed. They are ready to help their customers to transform. Are they?
Tech vendors add more fuel
The technology vendors have an agenda to sell their solutions and their services. They paint aesthetically pleasing stories of how their solutions and wares can digitally transform any organizations, and customers latch on to these ‘shiny’ tech. End users get too fixated that technology is the core of Digital Transformation. They are wrong.
Missing the Forest
As I gather more insights through observations, and more conversations and more experiences, I think most of the “digital transformation ready” organizations are not adopting the right approach to Digital Transformation.
Digital Transformation is not tactical. It is not a one-time, big bang action that shifts from not-digitally-transformed to digitally-transformed in a moment. It is not a sprint. It is a marathon. It is a journey that will take time to mature. IDC and its Digital Transformation MaturityScape Framework is spot-on when they first released the framework years ago.
To go through this Digital Transformation journey in any organization, the strategic initiative has to be sustainable. It has to be supported by the masses, not just the C-level or the senior management. While the drive should be top-down, led by the executives, the Digital Transformation strategy and its journey has to be all-inclusive.
Therefore, in my books, the Heart of Digital Transformation is …. The People.
Looking inside out
This week I had the chance to engage with IT operations people of one of the largest media groups in Malaysia. The past 3 days have been a slew of dissatisfaction and complaints. From archaic infrastructures to weak processes, it appears that the IT crew were just fire-fighting, all the time. As the frustrations grew, so did the people … negatively. And this in turn, led to more negativity, permeating from the IT operations, to the developers, and then to the users. From the top, the senior management and executives see nothing but a troublesome bunch of IT geeks and nerds.
All-for-One and Forward Ho!
I am a firm believer of People -> Process -> Technology. Technology comes last. It is fleeting, trendy, the flavour-of-the-day. It is always eventual that one new tech will supersede the previous. Chasing “shiny” things is not sustainable.
It’s the People! The inclusiveness, and growing the organization’s culture embracing Digital Transformation is the strategy to make everyone be a part of the Digital Transformation journey. Only then will it be sustainable.
[Note: This blog was first published on June 12th, 2019 on LinkedIn]